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Poster: Max Chorak Date: Oct 10, 2006 6:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: picking what songs they played

Anyone have any idea how their sets were picked out?! did they do it ahead of time?
I noticed now through listening that some of the teases actually led to playing that song..

i've started to notice some funny things too like how bobby always cuts off jerry's solo by starting to sing the verse if its a bob song.. or how if bill or mickey or both are really into the jam they will signal jerry or whoever by drumming up a frenzy to keep on groovin before going back to the verse.. and bobby's ad libbed lyrics! i know it makes it sound like i'm real new to this, but i really am. Did bobby commonly sing, in "Me n my uncle" "grabbed a bottle, cracked him in the jaw" or during new minglewood blues when he refers to the city that the band is playing in reference to the girls.

but my real question is the set lists.. sometimes was the show almost all improvised on the basis that they didnt have an outline of what to play?

how about that signaling? in Closing of Winterland during the transition of scarlet to Fire, Jerry just stares cold at phil and it looks like hes thinking "hey -- what the hell man" when he starts hitting the B note a lot. To me that kind of thing is just so.. magical.

I read somewhere a while ago bobby would hold up all his fingers when he wanted to signal a certain song, but i never found out which it was. my guess is estimated prophet?


anyways enough rambling for me.. but this band does certainly intrigue me. I want to start learning every facet and aspect of the band, but am afraid i might irk the forum in its entirety with my inferior threads :P

EDIT: one more thing. a friend of mine, who is not a deadhead but rather listens to some of their songs... he told me that "when they all just slam on their instruments and make noise that they are actually choosing what to play next" Now, i haven't heard this mashing sound, so i don't believe it, but is that true?

This post was modified by Max Chorak on 2006-10-11 01:45:41

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Oct 11, 2006 11:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

Oh, I think they were pre-planned, especially in later years. Particularly as they got deeper into a run and not wanting to repeat. Even Hornsby said they were not as "spontanious" as you may think. Good example is The LA 94 show with Branford. For some reason they left phil hot as they wind down Eyes and he clearly says, "don't you think we should do samba first?" which they ended up doing.

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Poster: Max Chorak Date: Oct 11, 2006 5:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

regarding later eyes... why'd they drop the STD jam!!! that jam made eyes what it was back in the day. Does anybody know the date they dropped it from their repertoire?

-max

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Oct 10, 2006 6:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

In later years, i actually used my limited powers of thought transference and hypnotism to influence the setlist. But judging from the actual songs played, i realized i had better choose another field in which to succeed (though i was surprised on occasion ...)

All good questions you ask, but i will have to defer to those who actually know what they are talking about!

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Poster: Purple Gel Date: Oct 10, 2006 8:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

While certainly the complete setlists were not preplanned, certain parts were. I had a college friend who ended up being on the light show crew and she invited me to hang with them at the soundboard in Denver in 1994. After Samba in the Rain (actually crazy fingers), she leaned over to me and said that they were getting ready to do Prophet > Terrapin > Drums. I asked her about it and she said that Bobby had communicated to them throught the coms that that was the plan (I think it had to do with giving the heads up to the light show folks so they knew what to do). I was so disappointed. It took so much of the fun out of the jam to know what was coming next. I asked her not to tell me what was coming out of drums so I could enjoy the moment. Of course there were some jams that almost never changed and I certainly don't think that whole sets were planned, but it seems that sometimes they had parts of their jams planned out.

This post was modified by Purple Gel on 2006-10-11 02:29:52

This post was modified by Purple Gel on 2006-10-11 02:31:35

This post was modified by Purple Gel on 2006-10-11 02:32:06

This post was modified by Purple Gel on 2006-10-11 03:01:04

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Poster: Fishead Date: Oct 11, 2006 2:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

dude that was 1994 ..jerry was like forgetting what band he was in let alone what songs they were gonna do. by 1994 they had to come up with a setlist for jerry's sake :)...but before the 90's it was a lot of improvising. they basically new what they wanted to play but would change on the fly...

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Poster: cousinkix1953 Date: Oct 10, 2006 11:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

A friend of mine intercepted some of those wireless intercom messages with a police scanner radio in 1994. I've actually heard conversations sent through the mikes on stage to the band's ear pieces. They did exactly what you suggested by picking out parts of the set, but not the whole thing.

Watch some of those latter day videos. Two-way mikes were used on stage. Notice that the boys step on a hidden switch (under a carpet) before they sing. and they step on it again, toswitch back to their private intercom...

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Poster: Dhamma1 Date: Oct 10, 2006 7:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

I think it's in Dennis McNally's book that Brent recalled asking to see the setlist before his first live show, and the others all laughed because they never compiled one. They would just talk a bit backstage about what to play and then improvised. I wish I could find a real citation to this anecdote, but it's not coming up as I page through the book and its index.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Oct 11, 2006 1:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

I don't know if this is relevant to what went on with the Dead but I recall reading an interview with Phil recently where he was asked whether or not there were setlists for the Phil and Friends shows. He said that of course there were setlists - but how the band moved from one song to another was something that was decided onstage on the night.


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Poster: Max Chorak Date: Oct 11, 2006 10:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

Verrry interesting! thank you guys so much for your input. This kind of stuff really intrigues me. :)

-max

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Poster: tbrad Date: Oct 10, 2006 8:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

To me, that's what made the late '80s and 90's so interesting. At that point they had 30 years worth of material to choose from - it made it extra special when you would hear some nugget like a Lovelight or a Dark Star.
Bobby's adlibs were funny, like in Truckin, 'ever since she went and had her sex-change....'

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Poster: Capt. Cook Date: Oct 10, 2006 10:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: picking what songs they played

Yea, I always thought that certain parts of the night were planned - opening up with Cold Rain and Snow on a cold snowy night, the fact that Jerry and Bobby switched opening slots from night to night, one night Bobby, next night Jerry - I once read an interview where Jerry talked about themes in the music, something as simple as a radio report or something on the news could spark a theme for a night. I think that staring at each other was a visual clue to listen carefully to a change. There was no telepathy going on that is just silly, the cues were visual and melodic and something that musicians learn to look for - the magic was in the writing of the songs that allowed for exploration and this was VERY MUCH PlANNED.

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